tv CNN Newsroom CNN May 28, 2012 11:00am-1:00pm EDT
he will move over to the veteran's memorial. rene is standing by. >> reporter: good morning. we are here at the u.s. marine corps war memorial. we have been here all morning. it's a stunning memorial to see in person. we have seen parents bringing their children here, and we have seen veterans themselves here, just taking a moment, a moment of silence to remember or remember those who have fallen and who have died for our country, and this memorial is right outside of arlington national cemetery, and we spoke to a couple of people today where they were headed from here and headed over to the cemetery for today's ceremony. we do expect momentarily that the president will arrive there at arlington national cemetery along with the first lady. he laid that wreath, and we were told around 11:00 this morning,
and that will be followed by remarks as well. but today is not the only day for the celebrations. we have seen them throughout the weekend. we had the rolling thunder that has been here in the nation's capital this weekend. yesterday, we saw and heard the roars of hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists riding from virginia to washington, d.c., and all in remembrance of those who were missing in action or prisoners of war. there were the flags in ceremony we saw on friday, and that was amazing and quite touching. 260,000 -- more than 260,000 head stones, each one had an american flag placed right there by the head stone to make sure every service member who was laid to rest there at arlington
cemetery is honored. we have seen all throughout the morning bus loads of people coming to this particular memorial, the u.s. marine corps memorial just to pay their respect. i spoke with one man, and he is not native to the united states, and he is an immigrant. he said it's a tradition for him to bring his son here every year. they live in michigan, and they made the trip here to washington, d.c., and he said he did it just simply because it's the least he could do. i thought about and he thinks about those service members that travel from their homes right here in the u.s. to go abroad to fight those wars and some of them unfortunately never came back, and so that father and son saying it's the least they could do on this memorial day. >> rene, as we continue to watch, the president is ted to have just arrived. we are going to watch for him to
go towards the tomb of the unknowns. he will lay the wreath here. this is a tradition that dates back so many years. what is more incredible perhaps, is memorial day was first observed back in 1868, and it was called decoration day back then. it was a day that was set aside to honor those who were killed in the united states civil war. 600,000 people killed in the civil war. back in 1868, that's when the first memorial day was. it's good to remember that as we take a break and enjoy the barbecues and sunshine, and this is the day to remember our fallen heroes and a good day to commemorate those who have come home from iraq and afghanistan, and are struggling to get back into the struggling economy as well. we watch these scenes play out outside of the arlington national cemetery, and it's incredible sight, and a lot of
tourists today watching the commemorations as they happen throughout the day. watching the itinerary for president obama, a phenomenal event. the defense secretary will be there and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff will be there, and the united states marine corps band, and this is worth sticking with us and staying tuned in so it's a way to commemorate your memorial day. unfortunately, mother nature was not playing along and put a dam per on the memorial day concert at the national mall in washington. the actor told the crowd there was a weather warning and people were advised to get out before the weather moved in. the concert was cut short but not before trace adkins and daughtry were able to perform. the pictures looked good but did not last as long as it should
have. and unpacking new cargo, and from a pretty cool vessel as well. the first ever private spacecraft hooking up and visiting the orbiting lab. space x unmanned "dragon," and the hatches between the "dragon" and the orbiting lab were open. the astronauts can access more than 1,000 pounds of cargo that the "dragon" spacecraft brought up. take a look at the views, too. not half bad. a quick note for you if you are heading out the door. you can continue to watch us here from your mobile phone, which is a cool option, and your desktop as well if you go to work on this holiday. you won't miss a beat. just make sure you stay tuned
because we are keeping a eye on the live cameras down there on the national cemetery as the president gets red yes to lay the wreath at the tomb of the unknowns. it's a somber ceremony, and obviously all of the top military leaders are going to be on hand to say their comments. this is also somewhat a special time as well. we also marked a very sad time on friday where the 3,000th coalition died in the war in afghanistan as well, so an opportunity to commemorate that moment as well. you see mrs. obama, who is walking in. and defense secretary, leon pennetta also arriving. this is usually the circumstance. you have a platform party being brought in, and the president now, i believe -- i can squint, and he is being brought in as well with an escort.
this will be the opportunity for him to get organized for his comments and wreath laying as well. as i said off the top of the program, there is a commemorations also later on this afternoon at the vietnam war memorial as well, and there is a lot that is going on with regard to that, because this kicks off a 13-year effort to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the vietnam war. let's listen in. ♪ [ music f]
with the echo of "taps" lingering, the party makes its way to prepare for the "national anthem." we have more coverage of memorial day 2012. the spread will speak at the half hour and his next event is three hours from now at the vietnam veterans memorial which you will see live here on cnn. before that, 1:00 eastern and 10:00 pacific, and romney holding a memorial day observance with former presidential candidate, john mccain. am in 1968. over the south pacific in 1943. i got mine in iraq, 2003.
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usually sunny and pretty there, but not the kind of day you want to spend out on the beach. beryl made landfall just after midnight bringing heavy surf and rain to the coast of jacksonville and southern florida. while a lot of memorial day festivities are canceled in those areas, there's a silver lining to all of this, and that's much-needed rain for a place dry as a bone. jacqui jeras is standing by. i follow what you say, and i wait to see if they turn into the storms or peter out to depressions. >> the timing more than anything was terrible with the holiday weekend and it became dangerous when folks were not following the safety rules and going out in the water and we had rip currents and more than 100 people had to be rescued. the beach threat will stay out there and you don't want to go
into the water or the coast, and it's windy and lousy so you are not probably going to see that today. the tropical storm depression should continue to weaken as it stays over land. we have threats we will have to deal with. threat number one is flooding. that will be a concern. you mentioned the drought and that we need this rain, but if you get too much, you know, when the ground is hard and dry, it just all runs off. be aware of that. this crosses i-10, and i-75 and i-95 and a lot of holiday travelers out there that need to use caution and be careful. rainfall amounts will be heavy at times today. we have had a couple tornado warnings. both of these cells weakened north of jacksonville and up towards st. mary's. the storms are no longer rotating but isolated tornadoes still a possibility. the track of the storm has it doing this right-hand hook and moving up to the north and eventually off to the east. this thing could reinintensify
and turn back into a storm sometime on wednesday, but it's a slow mover and that's part of the reason why the rain is going to be heavy. here are some of the totals we had yesterday from yesterday. the highest we could find was keystone heights, and that's three inches of rainfall. but if you had another three on top of that, that's when we will have the trouble. there's a possibility of three to six inches and that's why flood watches continue across the area. still a way to go here with the tropical system, the second one of the year before hurricane season even officially starts. >> first one, was was that, bud off the other coast? >> first one was alberto. >> bud was in the pacific. >> all right. i do watch you. trust me, i do. enjoy your holiday day if you get time off. by the way, the national weather service is facing
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the latino vote is going to be pretty critical in this year's election from local races up to the white house. cnn is going in depth this week on the issues and possible out comes for latino voters. both campaigns released ads in spanish. and the poll has a 34-point lead shows obama with a lead over romney. tomorrow is the texas primary. yes, we are still in primary season. can you leave it? there may be no state where latino voters are more crucial than texas. and joining me is carlos lopez in houston. the numbers are staggering in texas when it comes to latino voters, aren't they? >> reporter: it has grown,
according to the last census, ashley, over 4 million people came to texas, and latinos are a big part of the voting bloc. this is still a decided republican state. although president obama has a 40-point lead over romney, that's a spread between democrats and republicans. they are having the pray tphapr. we will see what happens tomorrow. >> when it comes to texas and how latino voters respond to republicans, i am reminded of rick perry during the primaries talking about funding education initiatives for children of immigrants, or illegal immigrants. that did not go over well with other republican candidates like
mitt romney. how do you suppose mitt romney is going to be able to go with the hard line approach he took? >> reporter: governor perry signed a similar bill, the texas dream act and defended it, and now mitt romney, it's interesting to see how he will try to convince hispanics that he can follow this. he gave a speech in front of a latino business group, and he spoke about educatio education is a key issue for hispanics as is the health care. immigration, and he said arizona could be a model, and he would
veto the dream act. we will see if he has enough time from here to november to present a different issue, but so far he's not talking about immigration and we will see what happens tomorrow and how he can get a message -- most latinos vote democrat, and you are referring to the poll, 27% for romney. he has to go up to 38 or 40% to win. it's doable but not easy. right now he does not have a rapport with the hispanic community in the u.s. >> buckle up, because i think you will see a whole lot of ads in spanish in your state. thank you. by the way, the obama campaign has spent $1 million on spanish ads targeting voters in not only texas, but colorado and florida. stay sure you stay tuned for more of the in depth coverage of the latino vote and the expected result in the 2012 election.
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so a rare bit of good news for the millions of people that might be driving over this memorial day weekend, getting there and getting back may be cheaper than you were probably expecting. the average price for a gallon of gas across the country is $3.64. i know it's still high, but we were worried about $4.50, or $5 a gallon gas. more people could hit the road this weekend and get to where they wanted to go. if you think about where they were in april, we were down 27 cents a gallon. alison kosik is live in new york at the gas pump. i was filling up the other day my friend, thinking about you because i was closer to the $4
gas, and i thought i know it's not the same everywhere, but i could never figure out why some states are so much more expensive than others. >> reporter: the $3.64 is the national average, and this price is relative meaning it depends on where you live. in new york city, we are paying $4.13 a gallon, and that's way above average. and california is paying $4.34 a gallon, and washington oregon and nevada and connecticut, they are paying above the average price. but you look at some of the places that are paying less than that. in south carolina, they are paying $3.33 and below 3.64 in alabama, tennessee, and oklahoma, so yes, it's all relative. >> i always look at those lists that you put together and i am trying to do the math as why those particular states and why
alaska or hawaii are not the most expensive because it's hardest to get the gas there? >> reporter: exactly. that's an important point to make. it takes more money to transport the gas there, the gas and oil. they are not close to refineries that refine the oil into gas, and that's part of the reason why. and taxes play into it, and also there are environmental regulations. as you move west those regulations also make it more expensive to refine the oil into gas. >> the other trend i keep -- obviously i have been in the business too long because i know come memorial day gas prices always go up, but this time around that friend was certainly bucked. why did it go down and is it going to keep going down, or do you have a crystal ball at all on this one? >> reporter: anything can throw this sort of prediction out of whack, of course. but there are three big reasons why you are seeing the drop in gas prices. first of all, supplies are
plentiful. oil and gas supplies are at their highest levels since 1990. and the fear premium built into oil, because iran is not threat ying to close the straight, and then we are seeing the economic recovery going down a bit, and the momentum is losing its stride not only here in the u.s. but in europe as well, and we are seeing the jobs recovery slow down a bit and the gdp as well, and so the demand for gas will slow and that's why you see gas prices going lower. >> enjoy your day, at least you have your assignment outside and shade, too. >> reporter: exactly, and a nice breeze. >> we are keeping alison hard at work, and tomorrow she will look into hotels to look at the folks that like to travel. hotel bills can be expensive. we will look at top tips on how
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we want to take you live to the arlington national cemetery where leon pennetta is addressing those standing by at the too many of the unknowns. >> it's now my privilege and my honor to introduce someone who has taken this charge to his heart. i have been honored to work closely with president obama. as director of the cia and now as secretary of defense, and to have the opportunity to see how seriously he takes his responsibilities as commander in chief. he has no higher priority than to protect this country and to protect those who protect all of us.
ladies and gentlemen, president of the united states. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you very much. please be seated. good morning, everybody. thank you, secretary pennetta, for your introduction and your incredible service to our country, and to general democracy, and katherine cond, and all of you here today, and veterans, family and friends of the fallen. thank you for allowing me the privilege of joining you in this sacred place to commemorate memorial day. these 600 acres are home to
americans from every part of the country who gave their lives in every corner of the globe. when a revolution needed to be waged and a union needed to be saved they left their homes and took up arms for the sake of an idea. from the jungles of vietnam to the mountains of afghanistan, they stepped forward and answered the call. they fought for a home they might never return to. they fought for buddies they would never forget. and while their stories may be separated by hundreds of years and thousands of miles, they rest here, together, side by side, row by row, because each of them loved this country.
and everything it stands for, more than life itself. today we come together as americans to pray, to reflect, and to remember these heroes. but tomorrow this hallowed place will belong to a smaller group of visitors, and in the rain and the snow, falling a well-worn path to a spot and kneeling in front of a head stone. you are the family and friends of the fallen. parents and children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, by birth and by sacrifice. you, too, leave a piece of your hearts beneath these trees. you, too, cause this sanctuary
home. together your footsteps trace the path of our history, and on this memorial day we mark another milestone for the first time in nine years, americans are not fighting and dying in iraq. [ applause ] we are winding down the war in afghanistan and our troops will continue to come home. after a decade under the dark cloud of war, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. especially for those who have lost a loved one, this chapter will remain open long after the guns have fallen silent.
today, with the war in iraq finally over, it's fitting to pay tribute to the sacrifice that spanned that conflict. in march of 2003, on the first day of the invasion, one of our helicopters crashed near the border of kuwait. on it were four marines. major jay allbin, and captain borepray, and staff sergeant kendall watersbay. together they became the first american casualties of the iraq war. their families and friends barely had time to register the beginning of the conflict before being forced to confront its awesome costs. eight years, seven months and 25 days later, army specialist
david hickman was on patrol in baghdad. and that's when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb. he became the last of nearly 4500 american patriots to give their lives in iraq. a month after david's death, the days before the last american troops, including david, were scheduled to come home, i met with the hickman family at ft. bragg. right now the hickman's are beginning a very difficult journey that so many of your families have traveled before them, a journey that even more families will take in the months and years ahead. to the families here today, i repeat what i said to the mickmans, i cannot begin to fully understand your loss. as a father i cannot begin to imagine what it's like to hear that knock on the door and learn
that your worst fears have come true. but as commander in chief, i can tell you that sending troops away is the most wretching decision i have to make, and when we do we must give our troops our full support of a grateful nation and as a country. as a country, all of us can and should ask ourselves how we can help you shoulder a burden that nobody should have to bear alone, and as we honor your mothers and fathers and sons and daughters, we have given -- who have given their last full
devotion to the country, we have to ask you how to give you some strength. one thing we can do is remember these heroes as you remember them. not just as rank or a number or a number on a head stone, but as americans, often far too young, who are guided by a deep and abiding love for their families, for each other, and for this country. we can remember jay allbin the pilot, who met his wife on an aircraft carrier and told his mother before shipping out, if anything happens to me, just know i am doing what i love. we can remember the former track star running the lead-off leg, always the first one into action who quit his job as an accountant and joined the marines because he wanted to do something more meaningful with his life. we can can remember brian kennedy, the rock climber and lacrosse fanatic that told his
dad two days before his helicopter went down that some of the marines he served alongside were some of the best men he dealt with and they would be his friends forever. we can remember kendall waterspwaeu, a proud father and son of baltimore, who was described as a light in a very dark world. and we can remember david hickman, a freshman in high school when the war began. a fitness fanatic who halved jokingly called himself zeus, a loyal friend with an infectious laugh. we can remember them. and we can meet our obligations to those who did come home, and their families who are in the midst of a different but real battle of their own. to all aour men and women in uniform, remember this, the
patriots that rest beneath these hills were fighting for many things, for their families and for their flag and above all they were fighting for you. as long as i am president, we will make sure you and your loved ones receive the benefits you earned and the respect you deserve. america will be there for you. finally for all of you that carry a special weight on your heart, we can strive to be a nation worthy of your sacrifice, a worthy that is fair, peaceful and free and a nation that weighs the cost of every human life, and a nation where all of us meet our obligations to one another and to this country that we love. that's what we can do. as president, i have no higher honor and no greater responsibility than serving as
commander in chief of the greatest military the world has ever known. on days like this, i take pride in the fact that this country has always been home of men and women that give of themselves until they had nothing more to give. i take heart in the strength and resolve of those who still serve, both here at home and around the world. and i know that we must always strive to be worthy of your sacrifice. god bless you. god bless the fallen. god bless our men and women in uniform, and may god bless the united states of america.
>> the president shaking hands with the defense secretary, leon pennetta, just having wrapped up his comments at arlington cemetery this memorial day, and he is there to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns. he will be headed to the vietnam war memorial later this afternoon. i want to bring in dan who is live at the white house who follows the president's every move. what is happening this afternoon is kicking off something not normal for a memorial day commemorations. this is a significant 13-year endeavor that is about to be kicked off with regard to the vietnam memorial? >> reporter: we are talking about how the president is remembering memorial day, but the 50th anniversary of the involvement in the vietnam war, but it's not just for one day, and it's as you pointed out a 13-year program, a combination of a federal and local and private organizations involved in honoring those who fought and
died in that war, more than 58,000 u.s. troops died in that war in vietnam, more than 1600 are still listed as missing. so the president through a proclamation tried to honor those in a special way. listening to the president a while ago, what you heard was not only a moment to who have f and died for this country and some who have returned and are struggling to rebuild their lives, but it's also about honoring the family members who have had to deal with their loved ones gone for so long and some gone forever. the president reassuring those in the military and all americans that he and his administration will do whatever it takes to make sure that they have the benefits that they need. >> dan lothian live for us at the white house. thanks very much. much more coverage of memorial day 2012 straight ahead. president obama's next event is about two hours from now, as dan
was just talking about. it's at the vietnam veterans memorial. you will see it live right here on cnn. before that at 1:00 eastern, 10:00 prefecture mitt romney will hold an observer in san diego. he's going to be with arizona senator and former presidential candidate as well as former p.o.w. john mccain. [ pilot ] flying teaches me to prepare for turbulence. the key is to have a good strategy. the same goes for my retirement. with the plan my financial advisor and i put together, a quick check and i know my retirement is on course.
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some pretty serious intrigue coming out of the vatican. the pope's own butler is today sitting in a jail cell and accused of funneling top secret documents to the author of a blockbuster tell-all book. corruption, cover-up, even kidnapping are discussed in a scandalous trove many are calling vati-leaks. how serious are these allegations and what exactly is in all of these letters and documents that are so indicting? >> reporter: well, are really runs the gamut. there is some gossip about you who a white trifle worth 100,000 euro ended up in a soup kitchen and there's allegations of cronyism, corruption, tax evasion, about how the vatican's
intraoffice dialogue with regard to many of its financial matters. >> barbie, what about the idea that they're prosecuting this guy, the pope's butler, what about the actual fallout from what the documents suggest, that there's a real mess in there? >> reporter: well, it is a mess. it really is, but the vatican doesn't have to be transparent. they don't really have to deal with the fallout. they are their own sovereign nation. they can handle this in any way they choose to. very little of this spills out into the italian everyday life. there is one document that talks about a secret meeting between the pope and the president of italy. there's another document that talks about how the dialogue went on about how the vatican should get out of paying for property taxes on some of its italian properties. these are top prelates having
arguments, power struggles, all on the eye on who will be the next pope. >> with such salacious material, it's got to have some kind of ripple effect or domino effect. is that likely to just gather steam or are they trying to tamp this down? >> reporter: well, i mean, the vatican has not specifically denied the authenticity of the documents. they have instead said that publishing them, printing them, talking about them is a criminal act. it's a breach of privacy, it's betrayal against the pope. i think they're trying to maybe garner a little sympathy for this pope, that he trusted this butler. this was a man that saw him first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and who really in his inner circle, in his pontifical family, it's a very small group of people, four nuns, the butler, and two clerical secretaries have this much access to the pope. and he betrayed that trust if these allegations are true. >> barbie, thank you, live in rome for us. for more on this unfolding
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washington is working some leads today about an intricate plot to assassinate american diplomats, a plot that's being traced back in iran. it's apparently part of a plan to retaliate for a secret war that is being waged. you might remember four scientists tied to iran's nuclear program have been killed.
some say assassinated, in the past three years. "the washington post" says this scheme took shape over more than a year ago, and among the targets u.s. embassy staff and family members in azerbaijan, iran's next door neighbor. but iran apparently abandoned the plot when it suddenly agreed to nuclear talks. british prime minister tony blair took the stand this morning in the ongoing british telephone hacking investigation. the former prime minister said he was pressured politically by media mogul rupert murdoch. he also said despite that, it did not shade his position on media-related laws. mr. blair has been criticized for being too cozy with rupert murdoch and his media empire, but he denied that charge. his testimony, by the way, was interrupted briefly by an anti-war protester who called him a war criminal for his stance on iraq. the judge immediately ordered an investigation of how that
protester was able to get in the room. that is it for me. thanks so much for watching on this holiday, this memorial day. cnn's "newsroom" continues now with my colleague, suzanne malveaux. >> good to sigh. i want to get right down to it here. it's officially, egypt's historic election comes down to a runoff. voters will choose between a man who served as prime minister under hosni mubarak and a member of the muslim brotherhood. some observers say it is a choice between a leftover from the previous regime and an ultra conservative who wants to make egypt an islamic state. we'll have more on the election just a little bit later. president obama leads the ghunt honoring the men and women who have given their lives in military service. the president took part in a wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of the unknowns. in a speech just moments ago he talked about the sacrifices in the ongoing war. >> we are winding down the war in afghanistan and our troops will continue to come home. [ applause ]
after a decade under the dark cloud of war, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. especially for those who have lost a loved one, this chapter will remain open long after the guns have fallen silent. if you're enjoying the long weekend along the southeast coast, don't have to tell you you're probably getting soaked. tropical storm beryl made landfall overnight near jacksonville, florida. knocked out power to thousands of folks, washed away most of the holiday weekend festivities. that's right. it could actually be very close to being a hurricane whend it landed but now it's weakened to a tropical depression. jackie jeras is watching the storm. >> a lot of travelers are out there. there are going to be heavy down pours and we will start to see
some standing water and the rivers and creeks could be on theize. there you can see trees down, power outages. actually power companies have been doing a pretty good job trying to restore power. we're hearing, folks, in southeast georgia only about 2,900 people remain without power at this hour. our storm has weakened quite a bit, so we are down to a depression now, and maximum sustained winds around 30 miles per hour. so in the strongest showers and thunderstorms, you could see wind gusts maybe up to 40, and that is enough to, you know, get a few branches down yet. so that's a little bit of a concern, but the primary thing will be these haef downpours. so let's zoom in and show you some of the heaviest rain say long the i-4 corridor between tampa, up towards orlando, and heading up towards daytona beach. people going to disney, trying to get that in on a holiday, certainly not a great day for that. we could see rainfall rates really a good one inch per hour at times and that creates visibility problems on the interstates as well. now, where is this storm going?
well, it's going to be moving up to the north and taking this right-hand hook. it's going to be a real slow mover as it does so, and so that's another reason why some of this rainfall is going to be an issue with that flooding. now, this should be moving off the coast we think of north carolina sometime on wednesday, and as it does that, it's going to get back over the open water. that water is very warm, and it should intensify back into a tropical storm. so something to think about in the days ahead even as the weather improves here. we're still going to have issue was rip currents. if you have beach plans, stay out of the ocean water. hit the pool instead of anything else. and here is some of the rainfall total that is we've seen so far. highest number, 3 1/2 inches. if you get another 1 to 3 inches on top of that, that's when you run into some trouble. >> any upside to this? >> the upside is that we actually need this rain, believe it or not, suzanne. this is the brought monitor for the southeast, and look at these dark red areas in here. those are areas that need a number of inches of rainfall to make up this drought.
so it's good to get the rain in there. it's just a little bit too much probably at one time. >> all right. jacqui, have a good holiday. >> thanks. now to syria, a new push to end the slaughter. international envoy kofi annan is demanding an end to the deadly violence. he's in syria right now for talks with president bashar al assad. more than 100 people were killed in a massacre in the town of houla on friday. almost half of them were children. we're about to show you some images of those dead children. obviously this is very disturbing. it is not appropriate for all viewers, but we want to show you the images to convey the extent of this crime against humanity. here is mohammed jamjoom. >> more than 100 dead. so many, so many in one day and such grief and such rage. 49 of the victims had posed no threat to anybody, least of all the regime in damascus. they were children not yet 10
years old. >> translator: by god, i washed the dead bodies of nine children. one was less than 9 months old. why are they treating us like animals? we are humans. did the infant carry an rpg? was he a fighter? it was a baby. he had a pacifier in his mouth. what was his guilt? why was he killed? >> reporter: opposition activists accuse the syrian government and its thuggish militias of carrying out this massacre. the syrian government blamed terrorists for the killings and called the allegations against them a tsunami of lies. >> translator: we absolutely deny that the government armed forces had any responsibility in committing such massacre and we strongly condemn the terrorist massacre. >> reporter: the united kingdom's foreign minister said the world had heard that line from syria and its backers before. >> it is a familiar tactic of the assad regime to blame others for what is happening in their country, to try to get out of responsibility for the scale of death and destruction. >> reporter: in houla more
amateur video atessing to that death and destruction. here the bodies of more than a score of women and children stuffed into a small room. and these pictures are the ones we warned you about. pictures agonizing to watch, children's bodies mangled and bloodied, some with skulls torn open. u.n. observers arriving on saturday to begin their investigation found a mass grave. with no power to stop the violence, they issued yet another call for calm and reason. >> the first thing to do is to stop the fighting, stop the violence, so that we can then get onto helping the wounded and, of course, the bodies of those who have lost their lives. >> reporter: and as outrage continues to mount around the world, the finger pointing goes on in a massacre hard to comprehend for its callus brutality. the young continue to pay the price for a cease-fire written on paper only. >> mohammed jamjoom is joining us from neighboring beirut, lebanon. mohammed, first of all, you look at those pictures.
it is so disturbing to realize what is taking place in that country, and the children, the fact there are now children who are being killed, what is happening today? >> reporter: well, suzanne, it is an overwhelming grief that has overcome the residents of that town. those who remain there. and we've heard from so many opposition activists in syria over the course of the past few days since this massacre happened. we're talking about people who are accustomed to the scenes of brutality they've seen over the past year, and even they say that this is something they can't get their heads around. they can't comprehend this level of violence. the u.n. monitors were there on saturday. they have been investigating. the syrian government is saying that they are going to investigate, that they are going to set up a committee, a commission that will investigate this crime. they are saying that it's terrorists that are behind it,
but at the end of the day it's a town in which a massacre has happened. it's horrific violence, and violence is still happening in syria even though kofi annan is there today. >> and mohammed, those people in that town of huola, what are they doing? are they basically hunkering down? are they hiding? are they simply just terrorized? >> reporter: well, we've heard that many of them who remained went to the part of the town that is in control -- that is controlled by the rebels because they are too afraid to be in the other parts of the town. there is still a palpable fear there, that's what we're hearing from activists, that this could happen again at ni tiany time. there have been reports of more violence, even after this horrific massacre, this atrocity that happened, there have been other parts in syria where there is continuing violence. even today we have reports that 26 people have been killed across syria.
people are afraid and they want international intervention and they want the u.n. security council to be able to do more. the free syrian army in syria is vowing retaliation for these crimes, and they're saying that kofi annan's peace plan is effectively dead. >> and, mohammed, the people who are there, you have got the opposition, you've got the government forces, but just the folks who are there in their community and seeing this happen, are they starting to arm themselves? do they feel like they need to be protected in some way but they're going to have to do it themselves? >> reporter: we've not heard reports that they are arming themselves, but we've heard reports that the rebel army there is planning retaliatory strikes against the government. they're urging the international community to begin air strikes against the syrian regime. what we're hearing from the residents of that town, from the activists who are also in contact with the residents of that town and other towns where violence has taken place, is that they want to see an end to
this. they want help from the international community, that they want help from the u.n. monitors to make sure that this doesn't happen again. but they're uncertain, they're fearful. because this happened and because of the scale of the brutality and because almost 50 children under the age of 10 were victims of this massacre, they just don't know if this could happen again at any time and they're very fearful. suzanne? >> it's just a tragic situation there. mohammed, thank you so much. we really appreciate it. we're going to have more on that story in depth later in the hour. here is what we're working on for this hour. scandal at the vat kin. the pope's butler arrested for allegedly leaking confidence documents. as american nuns fight rome's criticism they're too liberal. >> our church is being torn apart for political reasons. and gas prices may seem like a relief. down for the 12th straight day. but we put that number into p perspecti perspective. and the commencement speech season is in full swing. here the best advice speakers have had for graduates so far. plus, confessions from a
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a brutal massacre leaves more than 100 people dead in syria, almost half of those slaughtered are children. want to warn you about the images. they are not suitable for everybody to see. we're showing you these pictures because we want to convey the extent of this crime against humanity. this is some of the worst violence the world has seen in syria since the uprising against the regime began 14 months ago. michael holmes from cnn international is here to help us make sense of this. michael, first of all, when you take a look at what happened over the weekend, do you think this is a tipping point, and if not, why not? >> well, some people think that it could be, that this was just sort of the straw that broke the camel's back in terms of international reaction. i don't think so. i don't see this going anywhere. i mean, the so-called -- let's call the peace plan what it is, and that is a failure. there hasn't been a cease-fire for a single day since the syrian regime agreed to adhere to the six-point plan of kofi
annan's. hasn't happen. i think it's going to keep going the way it is. >> you have kofi annan on the ground today. he's supposedly talking with the president. i mean, what can they possibly do? what can he possibly accomplish? >> if it goes according to how it's gone in the past he will get al asad to agree to pull his troops back and go back to barracks, which is what he agreed to do weeks ago and has not been basically assad is ignoring it. annan is trying to get assurances, but assad has shown no willingness to actually do what is being asked of him. and it makes the u.n. look, let's face it, impotent, in the face of this. they're being ignored and people are dying. >> i want to talk about what's the most disturbing part of this, we see now children being targeted. a lot of times when you take a look at jen o side, it was a couple months ago i was in rwanda. there was evidence of children and women essentially who were being targeted and slaughtered.
do you think this has the potential of becoming a genocide. is that what we're seeing that unfold? >> i covered that in '90, the three worst weeks of my life. one of the things that made us all angry on the ground and cost hundreds of thousands of dies was nobody declared it a genocide because that's a word that has a definition under international law. >> very precise. >> very precise. if it doesn't meet that deaf significance, and rwanda did, nobody wants to call it that because the world then is obligated to act. i don't think it's reached that point. i don't think in seyria it fits that definition yet. i don't think anybody is going it call it that because then under international law you're obligated to go in and stop it from happening. nobody is showing the nerve to go in and stop this from happening. it's for a whole bunch of reasons. it's a complex political neighborhood, lebanon, which is itself so fractured could easily be tipped into it th. you have iran neighboring as
well, iraq neighboring. the other big deal is nobody know was would come if al asad and the regime fail. there's talk that the u.s. is trying to engineer, make the russians happy by saying, all right, let's do a deal where we'll get rid of assad, but the regime stays in place because russia wants to keep syria as their friend. they have their own vested interest in the regime staying there, economic, arms, they have a naval base there, last bastion of influence in the middle east. >> we're going to see this violence continue. it's just -- >> tragically, yes. >> it's so sad. it is so sad. >> and kids have been killed all through this. >> what is the point, how bad does it have to get before you see more action from world leaders across the spectrum? >> the question is always going to be what sort of action? are we going to see nato planes?
i can't see planes flying over syria, nato planes. nobody wants to go in that hard in that country. they've also got -- syria has got an army, too. they have an air force. >> we will see what develops there. thank you so much. mitt romney testing his grit in texas tomorrow. it's the state's primary. he's looking to go over the top to clinch the republican nomination.
all right. in a tough economy growing a small business not an easy thing to do, but one company did it. went from $400,000 in revenue to $4 million. christine romans shows us how a group of businesswomen actually did it. >> reporter: in tough times and in a tough business, aerial design and build has found a blueprint for growth. >> we felt there was a big immediate for a construction company that catered to midsized projects, that was professional. >> reporter: they have grown from revenue of $400,000 a year to $4 million and from two employees to 12 in just two years. so how did they do it?
they say the first thing they did was think bigger. >> right now it feels like aerial design and build has its own individuality. it's no longer just attached to my name and julie's name. >> reporter: they got help for count me in for women's economic independence. >> i think what she was missing was just that push or the permission and the vision to grow it much bigger. she certainly had the capability. >> reporter: second, learn to say no. the construction business is fiercely competitive, even more so since the recession. that's put the squeeze on profit margins for contractors. >> we want you to knock off your price and knock off that extra $30,000. >> reporter: do you have to turn down business sometimes? >> sometimes, yes. >> reporter: what a privilege. >> the first time we had to say no, it was very hard. >> reporter: you can't get bigger without some help. >> my advice would be start by
hiring even a part time employee and then a full-time employee so you can focus on marketing and doing what you're best at. >> reporter: by bringing on more employees, does that bring you more business? >> absolutely. a lot of our employees have a lot of connections that they've made over the last few years that they've worked in the industry. >> reporter: you don't really advertise. it's word of mouth. it's really face-to-face doing business with people that gets you more business. >> absolutely. we have a reputation of being on budget, on schedule, and providing quality workmanship. i think people like to hear that, and when they actually -- we achieve that, they're very thrilled and that leads to more word of mouth. >> reporter: christine romans, cnn, new york. mitt romney meeting up with donald trump tomorrow. hear why critics say not such a good idea. americans are always ready to work hard for a better future. since ameriprise financial was founded back in 1894,
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president obama, mitt romney both taking a break from campaigning to honor the nation's military men and women this memorial day, but tomorrow back to politics. romney is about to officially become the republican presidential nominee. just one of the stories we're following. political editor paul steinhauser is joining us live. hey, paul. romney is the last republican standing here. expect after the texas primary tomorrow he's going to get that magic number, 1,144. do we think that that is going to help him really get the enthusiasm, fire up the republicans, fire up the base, get behind him once and for all? >> you know, suzanne, we talked about that number so much, that meteorological number of 1,144 back in the primaries. we believe he will win big in texas and that will probably push him over the 1,144 number which is the number you need. but now it's a mere formality.
listen, ever since rick santorum dropped out of the race way back in april, everybody has basically presumed mitt romney is the nominee. that's what we called him, the presumptive nominee. now just a formality. i think the race has moved on. this little boost won't be much of a boost. it's something we'll quickly mention on cable news and online but that's about it. >> i think probably what's going to get more attention is the fact that he's got this event with donald trump tomorrow. some are thinking, really? trump keeps bringing up that birther issue, whether or not president obama is born in the united states and it's been debunked. so george will, conservative commentator of abc's "this we can," here is what he said. >> i do not understand the cost benefit here. the costs are clear. the bet fits, what voter is going to vote with him because he's seen with donald trump? the cost of appearing with this
ignoramus is obviously. again, i don't understand the benefit. what is romney seeking? >> tell us how you really feel there, paul. i mean -- >> wow. >> is there any -- what is the benefit here because clearly there are folks who are thinking -- scratching their heads like what does he give you? >> you know, and george will i guess may not have a lot of love for donald trump but i think a lot of people feel the same way. you never want your surrogate to outshine the candidate and this is a case where that could happen. there are a lot of minuses, maybe only a few pluses. there will be a fund-raiser in las vegas at trump's hotel for romney. i guess there are a few pluses maybe that trump will help romney when it comes to fund-raising, but romney is doing a pretty good job. i don't know how much help he needs there. the negatives, there are a lot of them, including the birther issue. listen, donald trump, we heard what happened last year when trump was flirting with a run for the white house, but he continues to tweet about it and
even talk about it in television interviews and the romney campaign has to come out and explain, we don't feel the same way. we can't speak for donald trump, and romney does realize the president was born in the u.s. the fact they have to explain this, a negative. there is some damage to being associated with donald trump, no doubt about it. >> and former senator alan simpson, some money, who as well is outspoken, slamming the republicans for their unwillingness when it comes to dealing with the country's debt. >> you can't cut spending your way out of this hole, you can't grow your way out of this hole, and you can't tax your way out of the hole. so put that in your pipe and smoke it we feel these people. this is madness. if you want to be a purist, go somewhere on a mountaintop and praise the east or something, but if you want to be in politics, you learn to compromise, and you learn to compromise an issue without compromising yourself. show me a guy who won't compromise and i'll show you a
guy with rock for brains. >> paul, has anybody listened to simpson? every single one of them gets a laugh because it is just so colorful, the language, and that's typical simpson there. is anybody going to listen to him before the election? i mean, really? are they going to look and say, you know what? we actually need to compromise and get some things done? >> unfortunately probably not because compromise -- simply was on the debt commission and the debt commission came up with a plan to try to bring down the deficit and part of it was a little bit of taxes increases and a lot of spending, but there was a mixture there, but a lot of republicans do not feel that way. the vast majority of them don't, and they felt this way for a while but it's been kind of even stronger nowadays because of the power of the tea party and the power of grassroots conservative groups. about 95% of republicans in congress have signed that no tax pledge, under no conditions would taxes be raised, and all with you bun of the republican candidates last year and early this year have also signed that
pledge. so any kind of raising of taxes is basically dead on arrival when it comes to a republican lawmaker or republican candidate and that's one of the things holding up any kind of compromise here. >> paul, have a good day, a good memorial day. good to see you. >> thank you. showdown between the vatican and american nuns. the vatican says they spend too much time on what it calls radical feminist themes and not enough time speaking up against same-sex marriage and abortion. companies have to invest in making things. infrastructure, construction, production. we need it now more than ever. chevron's putting more than $8 billion dollars back in the u.s. economy this year. in pipes, cement, steel, jobs, energy. we need to get the wheels turning. i'm proud of that. making real things... for real. ...that make a real difference. ♪
the men who run the catholic church in rome not too happy with nuns in the united states. the vatican is criticizing them for straying from the church doctorate. but the nuns are not backing down. >> reporter: letters of support are what comfort sister simone campbell at a time when the vatican publicly rebuked american catholic nuns for not speaking out more on issues like
abortion and same-sex marriage. >> it's this kind of support for our work that is so touching. >> reporter: in april the relea their doctrinal assessment which criticized the leadership conference of women religious, a group that represents the majority of the 57 country. the document says this about the group. it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death, a question that is part of the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the united states. the report also found, quote, radical feminist themes income patible with the catholic faith in some of the group's work. the lcwr said it was stunned by the findings. the report singled out for criticism sister simone's group network, a liberal catholic lobbying group of nuns. sister simone says it's politics at play since the nuns supported a new health care reform law, something catholic bishops opposed. >> our chump is being torn apart
for political reasons, i think. at least that's how it feels to me. and it's anguish. it's anguish. where it goes, i don't know. >> reporter: in the report the vatican appointed a bishop to oversee the nuns' activities. lcwr's board of directors is set to meet this week to discuss the vatican's move and come up with a response. >> i don't think it's going to change their core mission, which for many of the nuns in the united states is helping the poor. i think what we'll see is some compromise as they move forward on this, and it will be a long and painful process. >> reporter: worshippers say it's time for both sides to take pause. >> i would hope that the u.s. nuns would also look at it as an opportunity to kind of reflect on where they're succeeding and where they need to grow. >> i think a lot of people are taking a hard line on both sides. i think it just needs a little fairness, a little -- just take your time and find out exactly what is going on. >> stay strong. you are an inspiration. >> reporter: until there's a plan for a way forward, sister
simone says she'll continue to pray for direction. >> we are not alone. we don't stand alone. >> reporter: sandra endo, cnn, washington. the battle between the church and the nuns is not the only trofer scontroversy facing vatican. >> any number of issues from money laundering, from corruption, from the vatican's alleged cover-up of two particular murder cases. >> it's strange. it's the stuff of movies, but it's actually real. pope benedict's butler locked up in a vatican jail after allegedly stealing documents and exposing scandals. college grads getting a lot of advice from commencement speakers. >> people can only define you if you let them. in the end it's up to each of us to define ourselves. >> my guess is much of the
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>> reporter: words of wisdom. >> people can only define you if you let them. in the end it's up to each of us to define ourselves. it's up to each of us to invent our own future with the choices we make and the actions we take. >> reporter: of encouragement. >> i hope for each one of you that your path will be long and life will be kind. >> reporter: and of advice. >> remember that making your mark on the world is hard. it takes patience. it takes commitment. it comes with plenty of setbacks and it comes with plenty of failures. >> reporter: for life after the dorm room. spring is the season of graduations and of commencement addresses, and for the politicians, it's an opportunity to inspire. >> it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role that you'll play in writing
the next great chapter in the american story. >> reporter: and stake out a claim on young voters. >> marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: many of them casting a ballot for the very first time. but politics aside, what are the right words to send off america's future leaders and how do you top some of the best? >> your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. don't be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking. don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. >> that is the great he is lesson of life. to be happy you have to gif something back. >> i'm sorry, what the hell is this thing? it looks like you stole it from the set of survivor nova scotia. serio seriously, it looks like something a bear would use at an
aa meeting. >> all right. a little humor can help make a commencement speech memorable but for graduates the speech is usually something you have to sit through before you get to the fun, the good stuff. our guest with some insight, scott berkin, author of "confessions of a public speaker." scott is joining us from seattle. you may most peep don't even remember the commencement speaker or what they said. why? >> well, usually people have been sitting around for a long, long day before the commencement speaker ever gets up there, so it's an audience that's really not looking to hear very much, and people just -- most people who get up there do a commencement speech and they're focused so much on their piece of it when they're really at the end of a long day. most commencement speeches go on for much too long and they say very predictable safe things to everyone. >> so how do you make a speech memorable? what would be some of your tips?
>> well, the first thing is keep it short. whenever we're told we have to go listen to a lecture, we know it's going to be boring and we prepare ourselves, we brace ourselves for a long, boring speech. as soon as we're asked to talk, we think about all the things we can say. my first recommendation to people, whatever amount of time you're given, you're not obligated to use all of that time. so i'd always recommend trying to use half of that time and whatever time you have, divide it into three or four pieces that you can focus on making each individual one a story unto itself. less time and divide and conquer. >> what makes a speech memorable? even beyond the commencement speech, because you have a lot of folks who essentially, they're going to be facing a pretty tough economic situation when they get out of college. what can you tell them? >> well, the mistake a lot of speakers make, commencement speakers and speakers in general is they feel obligated to bring in famous quotes from famous people and they try to buffer themselves by telling other people's stories. but if you're someone speaking a the a commencement address, a
day filled with lots of pomp and circumstance stan and generalalities, what people really want is a specific story. the speeches we remember, we saw someone speaking who told something true about their past and that allowed us to connect with their story and their message. if you want to have a memorable speech think about how your own personal story can be of value to the people who are there. more than quoting other people or famous speeches from the past. >> good advice, scott. i want you to check this out. creighton university's commencement speech, had a chance to deliver it a couple weeks ago. tell me what you think i could have done differently. >> while your path might not be a traditional one, it will take you to where you belong, and it is for this reason that, second, i urge you today, a day that marks both the beginning and an ending to a period in your lives, just to listen, to listen to who you are and to listen to
your heart. all right, scott. how did i do? >> you did pretty good. it was only 15 second sound bite. i'm assuming that wasn't the entirety of the speech. >> it was way too long. i do think it was way too long. i probably could have cut it in half. >> how long was it in total? >> i do think -- >> i thought it was good. >> okay. it went beyond 15 minutes. it did go beyond 15 minutes and they said keep it at 10. >> i think 15 to 20 is good. i think tying together the connection that people have, it's supposed to be a commencement, it's an ending and beginning so you brought together a good metaphor for them to think about, and it's a common metaphor people use. i hope you preceded that by a story of your own about how you dealt with the transition of moving on from college yourself. that's usually the thing people will remember is seeing someone share something true about themselves that they can connect with. >> yes. and i want to bring up this one here because this is -- this was like famously the fastest commencement speech ever. this is dr. seuss famously delivering this at lake forest college back in 1977.
reading, oh, the places you'll go and he said here, out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsie as you. and when things start to happen, don't worry, don't stew. just go right along. joule start happening, too. oh, the places you'll go. is it really that simple, scott? >> i think dr. seuss probably scores way higher than most commencement speakers in terms of entertainment value and brevity i think. >> all right. scott, thanks again. really appreciate it. good advice for those who have speeches to give and public announcements and all those good thing and for the rest of us who have to stay up and awake during all those, too. thanks. memorial day drivers enjoying relief at the gas pump. but it's all relative. peter. i can see that you're busy... but you were gonna help us crunch the numbers for accounts receivable today.
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if you sat in memorial day traffic, small consolation it actually costs you less to sit in traffic. the average price in gas in the country is $3.63 a gallon. it is the third highest memorial day price ever, but still 29 cents lower than the peak price we saw back in april. want to bring in alison kosik in new york with the very latest on this. so, you know, cheap gas, it's all relative. i guess we're all just spending our money to get there or to idle in the traffic. is it getting any better? >> reporter: it is getting
better. so the national average of $3.64 right now, it is down 30 cents from a year ago around memorial day. so it is getting a little better. of course, as you said, it is all relative. look what we're paying in new york city, $4.13 a gallon. people are paying out the nose, of course, still if you live in california, if you live in oregon, if you live in washington. so, yeah, there are places above that average, but it is getting a little better there. >> what's the trend here? is there a trend? >> reporter: there is, and the trend is that we're going to see prices probably move just a little bit lower but not much because what usually happens after memorial day, suzanne, is these refineries start making these summer blends of gasoline which means they're cleaner, but they also are more expensive to refine, so you're going to see that price maybe go down a little bit but not too much because that new blend is really going to keep prices elevated at the level they are now. >> are you seeing a lot of folks out there over the holiday? >> reporter: there are.
there are a lot of people filling up today. i talked to them about whether or not they notice on their bill, you know, when they fill up their tank, whether or not they notice what we're talking about, how gas prices, you know, let's say are 30 cents lower than where they were a year ago. and you know what they tell me? they tell me i really don't notice. i still think that gas prices are really high because it's only a few pennies and although on the sign when we see the sign go down ever so slightly every so often, it's nice to see, about you they say they really need to see it come down a lot more, maybe even 50 cents. then they would notice a real difference when they have to sign for their bill at the gas station. >> all right. alison, thanks. have a good holiday. >> you, too. a man 23r fr austria trying to do the unthinkable. we're talking about free fall from 120,000 feet. that is almost 23 miles above the earth. see how he's preparing for this amazing feat. [ dog ] i am a pro baller. 11 years playing the outfield, and i got no plans to retire.
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most of us can barely imagine what it feels like to sky dive, but how about doing a free fall from 23 miles up? that's right. believe it or not, somebody is actually getting ready to try it. our brian todd has met the guy who wants to do this. wow, brian, why is he doing this and tell us what will this accomplish? >> reporter: he's going to break a 52-year-old record for altitude jumping. with nasa ending the shuttle program, the future of manned
space flight a bit uncertain, this could be what's needed to get us pumped up by space exploration. we spoke with felix baumgartner an austrian daredevil who will attempt the longest ever free fall from the highest altitude, from 120,000 feet above sea level. that is more than 22 miles up. now, to get there he's got to get into a space capsule and be pulled to the edge of space in a massive balloon. once he gets to that altitude, he just steps off. he'll spend about 5 1/2 minutes in free fall, then his parachute is going to open up about 5,000 feet up if all goes according to plan. this is sponsored by red bull. it's called the red bull stratus project. they have prepared for this for five years. i caught up with the man they call fearless felix at washington's air and space museum. five years now in the making. are you scared, are you nervous? >> actually i'm not scared and i'm not nervous because we did
so much preparation. we rehearsed everything. just getting out of the capsule is a procedure where it includes 43 steps, and we have been properly trained every step. >> reporter: this altitude free fall mark is not the only record felix is going to break. no one has ever broken the speed of sound accelerating with just the human body outside a plane or a spacecraft but if this jump goes as planned, felix baumgartner will break that mark going 690 miles an hour. suzan suzanne, i don't know what you did this weekend, i didn't do anything nearly that interesting. >> no, sat by the pool. you have to have a red bull to do what this guy is going to do. >> a few. >> tell us about the other guy who set the previous record because there's a pretty cool story behind that, too, yeah? >> reporter: it's a great story. the man who set that record was air force colonel joe kittenger. he jumped from 102,000 feet and that was in 1960. he's not only still ally, he's a
consultant on this project with felix. we interviewed him as well. we'll have all that at 5:00 today. >> brian, thanks. i'm suzanne malveaux. overwhelming grief in syria after a brutal massacre. and the violence goes on. opposition activists say at least 26 people died today, but even those activists who are accustomed to the brutality say they can't even wrap their minds around friday's massacre. more than 100 people died, almost of a of them children. an explosion in downtown nairobi, kenya, has left at least 28 people hurt. hospital officials say four of them are in critical condition. the blast happened at a shopping center, and witnesses say the ground shook and pieces of metal were everywhere. the prime minister believes that the explosion was caused by terrorists but police at the